The Word on the Street

My friend Angela and I went canvassing for Obama today in NE Minneapolis.

You may have encountered this from the other side of the door; somebody rings your bell on a Sunday while you’re trying to enjoy the ballgame, a guy standing there with three political buttons and a stack of papers, and asks you to vote his way. Today, that was me.

I got a lot of unanswered knocks, which is usual for this sort of thing. I got a lot of dismissive waves and “not interested”s, which is not unusual, although I didn’t think I was selling anything in the strictest sense. I just sort of look like a salesman.

There were, too, some staunch Obama supporters and encouraging words. One made my case for me, and said that he had already told all his friends: if you want things to get worse, vote McCain, if you want a change from Bush, vote Obama. Who’s in favor of worse? Nobody.

I asked one prospective voter, an Obama fan, what time he would head down to the polls (if you get people to think about when they’ll vote, they’re more likely to actually get out there and do it). “I’ll probably head down their early,” he said, “I just got laid off so I don’t have much more to do that day.” I felt pretty secure that he’d make it on Tuesday.

The day was a bright, blue, gorgeous 65 degrees, which, in Minneapolis on November 2, is proof enough that global warming will soon kill us all, and helped make our case for Obama.

I got nipped by a dog, but her owners were Obama supporters, so I skipped the shots. I met a Libertarian who’s house smelled like dope, and I also encountered that most elusive of wildlife — the undecided voter.

“I mean, I just think they’re both just out for power, and they’ll lie just the same,” he said.

I told him my shameful secret; that in the 2000 election, I thought Bush and Gore were pretty much the same and supported Nader. It was a mistake, I said, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After all, Gore went on to win the Nobel Prize while Bush ruined the entire world.

“Well, I did like Clinton,” Mr. Undecided said. “He lied, but he sounded good. Obama’s like that. I’d rather listen to Obama’s voice for the next four year’s than that other guy.”

Excellent! Well, I hope you consider Obama then on Tuesday, I said. I’ll take anything. And, even though the man was obviously insane and had lived in his basement for the last two years, he couldn’t remember McCain’s name, which I took as a very positive sign.

Two people I talked to wanted to vote for Obama, but didn’t know where their polling place was. That’s what I’m here for! I wrote down their polling place on some literature, asked them when they’d vote, told them there’d be long lines, so go early.

Will those two people really go on Tuesday? Will we get the “like-the-sound-of-his-voice” vote? Was it worth it?

Dear God, I hope so.

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